“Magical Mystery Tour“ in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Since publishing the last edition a load of people (OK, I’m exaggerating , it’s two people ) have contacted me asking how ‘things’ are going in Q Gardens so I thought I should ‘knock out’ an edition to provide an update for those of you (that’s all two of you ) that are interested.

For regular readers of this blog I’ll jog your memory as to what Q Gardens looked like when ‘we’ left it.

Fairly sparse.

But then the Head Gardener, that’s my wife Rose, got to work and the beds started to fill up and the seedlings began to grow.

A greenhouse is a new thing for us. A long , long while ago (and by that I mean over 40 years ago ) we tried our hand at vegetable growing but never really got into it seriously before I started to give more attention to my career and that ended our brief flirtation. With vegetable gardening I mean , not with Rose I hasten to add !

Rose has shown herself to be very intuitive- but then again she’s always been that way. She knew all those years ago that I was right for her ! But seriously, she’s a natural where gardening is concerned. Me ? I’m a Google and YouTube addict. I research everything.

So, because of my Google addiction we’ve tried :

Composting using the Berkeley method .
And it worked !
Composting using the Bokashi method .
Looks disgusting doesn’t it but apparently it’s full of bacteria. Who knew ? Well I do . And now … so do you !


“Homegrown Tomatoes” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

In the last edition ,under supervision by the Head Gardener, Rose, I hung the string on some of the hooks on the roof beams and Rose got to work fashioning a trellis for some of the tomatoes and cucumbers we are trying to grow .

We then waited for the plants to entwine themselves with the trellis and grow , hopefully produce flowers that would help to pollinate and eventually producing tomatoes and cucumbers .

While all this was going on though I had around a third of the largest raised bed (the one in the center of Q Gardens ) to fill with soil (black dirt ). So I ordered 8 sacks from Belize Scapes .

Rich and dark . Very quickly approved following Ziggy’s inspection.

And just as quickly shovelled into a bucket and tipped into the raised bed by me . Bucket after bucket until I created the base layer for the contents of a Bokashi bin .

Bokashi experiment area number 2 . Looks horrible, doesn’t it . The Bokashi bran though ‘kills’ the rotting vegetable odour (odor for non UK readers) to a sour, vinegar like smell.

Although the bran changes the odour , the contents of the bin are still mightily attractive to flies so I had to up my game and shovel the soil into the bucket and dump the content into the bed as quickly as possible. Changing gear at my age doesn’t come easy but I raised the pace. A bit . Well, a little bit actually but …

And calamity of calamities

I ran out of soil (aka black dirt ).

A phone call to Belize Scrapes and the next day I had a delivery. Great service.

Thirteen bags. Surely enough to fill the remainder of the bed.

So out with the shovel and bucket again and get those old bones and muscles working and before too long the bed was full.

And then it was back to ladder duties hanging the thread so the Head Gardener, that’s Rose if you didn’t know, could create another trellis.

It’s a work of art .

Ready to start planting some peas, Beefsteak tomatoes and sweet pepper.

Peas in.
Beefsteak tomatoes in.
And the sweet pepper.

Planting of the seedlings was going to plan but we had some casualties. The leaves of one cabbage and one cauliflower had been nibbled. We had an ‘enemy’ in the camp, or Q Gardens to be more precise. Time to bring out the big guns.

“Let’s see how you like the chili pepper “.

What’s that you said ? “ How are the other plants doing ?”. Very well actually. And thanks for asking.

The zucchini looks a picture of health but we are still patiently (OK, impatiently) waiting for female flowers to appear.
Basil, cucumbers ,beans, lettuce and marigolds‘doing’ quite nicely.
And the cucumbers flowering.
Look at that beauty.
Tomatoes coming along nicely.
And bearing fruit too. Very soon we will hopefully be enjoying some homegrown tomatoes !

Q Gardens is now a favourite (favorite for you non UK readers ) spot for Rose and I and Ziggy likes spending time in there too but he’s found another place that he quite likes too.

Lovely boy !

The headline for this edition is based on the single released in 1981 by Guy Clark which reached number 42 on the US Billboard Country Chart.

“Puppet on a String “ in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

If you read the last edition (if you didn’t then you SHOULD ) you’ll recall that I was slowly but surely (and, I might add, very tiredly) filling up the raised beds with soil.

As I toiled with the soil (nice ring to it that, doesn’t it ) Rose, the Head Gardener of Q Gardens, watched on intently. Or perhaps impatiently is the word I should use for her emotional state at that time ! She had seedlings that she was keen to transplant. So I did what subordinates should do. I was told to get out of the way. So I did ! And the Head Gardener got to work.

First to ‘go to bed’ was the zucchini that Charles from Estel’s Dine By the Sea (regular readers are aware of the place , it’s my 6 days a week breakfast ‘spot’) had given to us.

Remember it now ?
It grew a bit .
Looks healthy but where are the female flowers ? Waiting. Impatiently.

And then it was time for the Basil.


then some cucumbers.

Within a few days the Head Gardener (I’m quite getting used to referring to Rose this way ) decided that some of the seedlings were ready for an upgrade . Out of those little pots and into bed !

From the back left working right and then forward , cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli.

It was then time for the tomatoes and some use of Rose’s handicraft skills (I’ve mentioned this attribute before ) to create a trellis. We knew (well, we hoped ) that we’d need to provide support for some plants so we had Moses put hooks in the roof beams .

Look hard and you’ll see the string trellis.
And trellis for the cucumbers too. With some windows open and the front doors too the leaves of the cucumber plants entwined with the trellis sway like the arms of a puppet on a string (the worst headline link ever ? ).

We then remembered (we are learning as we go along ) that zucchini and tomatoes are not the best of bedfellows so the zucchini had to go . To another bed, that is. One on the other side of the greenhouse.

Looking down the bed – zucchini, habanero, two oregano plants and basil (different variety to the plants in the other bed. All of these plants kindly donated by Charles of Estel’s.
We have 2 habanero and one is nearly ripe !
And the oregano and basil look healthy too.

We have expanded our planting experimentation beyond Bokashi compost to now include the compost I produced using the Berkeley method .

Our Bokashi bin.
Contents of the Bokashi bin in a section of one of our raised beds after its two week fermentation period. This was covered with soil and is ready for planting after a period of two weeks has elapsed.
Compost from the Berkeley method. MY COMPOST !

And – providing I’m the one that handles it – we have included

I’d love my own worm farm but the Head Gardener has said no. And I mean NO.

And, thanks to Caye Coffee, we are also going to include the use of coffee chaff for some of our tomato and cucumber plants.

Coffee chaff.

It will be interesting over the coming weeks to see if there are any discernible differences in the size and health of the plants based on the use we’ve made of the various soil additives.

The headline for this edition is based upon the single released in 1967 by Sandie Shaw which reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart. It was also the winning song at the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest.

“Stronger” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

With our greenhouse built and named it was time for the hard work to begin. Covering the tree trunks and branches in the raised beds. But first to organise a delivery of soil (or , as it’s colloquially known in Belize, black dirt ).

I did what I always do when we are purchasing something that will run into hundreds of dollars. I contacted the suppliers to get prices . And then see how much I can get them to lower their price by. It’s rewarding. Not just because of how much you save but also because you achieved something.

Now those of you that are regular readers will know that I do have a penchant for a little bit of Googling. Well, I let my Google addiction run riot and found a soil calculator . I knew that the outputs would not be exactly right – obviously the varying sizes of gaps between tree trunks and branches – but it would give me a reasonable indication. So, based on this I ordered a first delivery of 8 cubic yards from Caribbean Depot who barged it over from the mainland.

Tipped nice and close to Q Gardens. I wanted the shortest walk as possible. I’m not getting any younger you know !
And he’s off. Look at those rippling muscles. Can’t see them ? Oh well.

Shovelful after shovelful. Bucket after bucket the first bed started to fill. And with every shovelful of soil into a bucket ,carrying it and then emptying it into the beds was making me stronger. Very tired. But stronger.

They hold a lot of soil.
Nearly there.

And then I moved onto the second of the smaller beds. I must add though that the bed filling took place over days. It’s quite tiring work you know.

With this bed Rose, the Head Gardener, and I , the general labourer (laborer for you non -UK people out there ) decided that we would conduct some tests. Do you remember the Bokashi bin I told you about some editions ago ? No ?

Remember it now ? Oh good, I’ll get on with this edition then.

We decided that we would bury the contents of the Bokashi bin at either end of the bed between layers of soil and the middle section would just be soil with some potting mix. So I emptied the contents of the bin.

After 2 weeks encapsulated in the bin the kitchen waste had fermented nicely.
And topped off with soil. The far end is where the second experiment will be held.

Knowing that we were going to have a greenhouse built we had bought four tomato seedlings that I saw advertised on Facebook by GreenGo Organic Management which the Head Gardener looked after .

And Charles (he’s a keen gardener), the famous Grill Master at Estel’s Dine By the Sea , very kindly gave us a zucchini.

Baby zucchini at the ‘adoption’ .

A component of our planning for the greenhouse had included an order of numerous packets of seeds which the Head Gardener opened with glee.

And planted them in potting mix and took them to their new ‘home’ , Q Gardens.

Oh, remember the four tomato seedlings ? Yes? Good.

Look at them now.

The headline for this edition is based upon the single released in 2007 by Kanye West which reached number 1 on both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Love Letters” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

A few editions ago I mentioned that Rose and I had drawn up a list of things in and around Highbury House that we wanted to tackle. Well, when we discussed our greenhouse project initially with Moses we told him what we wanted done and asked if he could do it . He answered, as we fully expected, in the affirmative.

One aspect of the house that had virtually always seemed incongruous to us – yes, I know we approved the architect’s plans but … – the railings closest to the house on the second flight of steps . So ( and it was Rose’s idea – she has so many ) we decided to relocate them .

The set of railings in question are at the back. My attempt at a pointer hopefully helps.

Rose has many, many attributes (and I’m not just saying this because I may have done something wrong – I probably have – but because it’s true) and amongst these is that she is a spatial thinker. She can look at something and within seconds will know how something will fit. Me ? I can stare at an area for hours , get a tape out and measure the space and … still be uncertain. Anyway, I digress (not for the first time, you’re thinking ), back to our railings. Rose just knew where they needed to be moved to !

We obviously used the conventional method as well and measured the area where Rose had suggested we move the railings to. And you know what ? She was right. They just – and only just mind – fitted !

So Moses first task when he turned up with Vilmer ( if you’ve been reading recent editions you’ll recall that Vilmer assisted Nicholas when he installed water and electricity for the greenhouse) was to remove the railings from their location on the second flight of stairs and move them to their new location .

New location – the stairs leading to the apartment.
Much better. Just need a primer coat and a couple of finishing coats. Sounds like a job for John !

The next job was to extend the ramp to our garage. Over the years we’ve lived at Highbury House the driveway has sunk and created a dip immediately before the ramp. We’ve used gravel to level things but eventually the rain washes it away.

Look hard and you can see the gap .

But first we needed to get the necessary materials delivered.

Just squeezing through the gate. And I do mean JUST.

A delivery of the essential items . Cement, sand and gravel and, my all time favourite , (favorite for you non-UK readers ) rebar !

Moses and Vilmer had already started preparing the area in front of the ramp.

Moses finishing off digging the hole allowing Vilmer to start working on the rebar.
Rebar getting its Ospho coat.
Much better .

Moses had a couple of other jobs which he took care of on his own . The first task was to fit the guttering on the greenhouse so that we can collect and make use of rainwater .

Fortunately for us it rained heavily the night after Moses had put the guttering and rain barrel in place and …

One night of rain and we’d collected 55 gallons.

Whilst Moses worked on the final element for the greenhouse at his workshop Rose – with the rake – and I – with a shovel and the wheelbarrow- put the surplus sand and gravel to good use .

And tidied up the entrance to our house .

Moses returned a few days later with a delivery which he left with me and my paintbrush!

To match the railings . Rose drew every letter by hand and Moses used her handiwork as templates. Told you she is multi talented. I love letters that Rose draws !

When the paint had dried I rang Moses who came to our house and set to work with the final touch. The naming of our greenhouse. Why shouldn’t it have a name ! And we decided to name it after the famous gardens in south-west London.

Any idea what we called it ?
How about now ?

Nowhere near as grand as Kew Gardens but grand enough for us.

The headline for this edition is based upon the single released by Ketty Lester in 1961 which reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart and number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Little by Little” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

If you read the previous edition , which by the way I ‘knocked out’ , shortly after I’d got up around 04.30 hours , while I drank a couple of mugs of back , unsweetened instant coffee, you know that the next stage of work on the greenhouse was connecting electricity and water.

First though we had to have the hugely rust ridden D Switch replaced.

Nicholas, Moses’ younger brother, was going to remove the old box and connect a new one that I had bought but first Belize Electricity Limited (BEL ) had to disconnect us from the grid. It seemed only right that it was Nicholas because it was he and his brother Angel that had constructed the tower for the electrify connection for our house in November 2012.

Nicholas at the top, Angel below him.

Nicholas arrived around 07.30 hours to get everything ready for the big change over and BEL thankfully arrived shortly after 08.00 hours. Thirty minutes later the BEL team of three was on it’s way and Nicholas was doing his thing in the north-east corner of our garden.

Working all on his own Nicholas removed the old D Switch and replaced it with the new one and finished the task shortly before 13.00 hours. Just in time for lunch but I asked him to wait until BEL arrived and reconnected us. I wanted to be certain that everything worked. Nicholas readily agreed. Unfortunately- especially for a very hungry Nicholas – BEL didn’t arrive until shortly before 15.00 hours. Twenty minutes later though we were reconnected and everything worked. Nicholas left but before doing so promised to return the next day to start work on the greenhouse.

True to his word, Nicholas arrived the following morning shortly after 07.00 hours and he was accompanied by his assistant, Vilmer. Within minutes they disappeared from sight as they entered the trees and bushes in the north east corner of our garden. The area Rose and I affectionately refer to as the Dingly Dell.

After clearing a way in (and out) they set about digging a trench from the well and the electricity connection to the greenhouse and then started to lay the PVC piping for the water and electricity ‘feeds’.

Nicholas in the green T shirt and, if you look hard, you can just see Vilmer’s legs.

With the piping ‘laid’ Nicholas set about installing the utilities that we wanted for our greenhouse.

Wiring in the PVC pipes. Nice and neat.
Twin power socket in.

Fan in on western side over the main raised bed.
Fan installed in north- eastern corner . One fitted in south-eastern corner too.
Lights fitted. And they work !
Control ‘panel’ for the three fans and two fluorescent strips.
Fuse box.

With the electrics ‘done’ Nicholas turned his attention to the water supply and it wasn’t too long before a tap (faucet for non-UK readers) had been fitted outside the greenhouse.

And the handle matches our railings ! Result.

And not too long after we had one in the greenhouse.

We also decided to make use of Nicholas’ electrical skills whilst he was ‘with’ us and got him to install two motion sensor lights on the eastern (front) and western (back) ends of the greenhouse to light up our driveway.

Eastern end.
And one for the western end.

Little by little we could see the greenhouse taking shape but there was still much to do

like filling the raised beds with soil .And … planting seedlings !

The headline for this edition is based upon the single released in 1985 by Robert Plant which reached number 36 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and a lowly number 83 on th

“Big Log” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Knowing that windows for the greenhouse were about to be fitted I woke up slightly before 04.00 hours, made my mug of black, unsweetened instant coffee and read what Mikel Arteta, he’s Manager of Arsenal had to say the previous day at a press conference. With the season my team is having I was looking for any good news ! I didn’t really get any, it was more of an injuries update. Oh well, at least later on I , yes me, could actually start doing something in the greenhouse.

So, wanting to be certain I was ‘up for the job’ I showered, dressed and drove the golf cart down to Estel’s Dine By the Sea for a healthy breakfast of wheat toast – no butter- and jam, a bowl of fruit, a glass of watermelon juice and two mugs of black and unsweetened (Caye Coffee) coffee.

Do you remember those logs I told you about in a previous edition ? These ones .

That I had cut into more manageable pieces. And one Big Log in particular.

Well with the guys working on the windows outside the greenhouse I could get to work inside the greenhouse with the logs. Any idea doing what ? No ? You sure ?

Putting them into the raised beds , that’s what !

I put cardboard down first to hopefully slow down the growth of weeds. It is also a good source of carbon and can create air pockets of oxygen. Or that’s what my research informed me.

And I then kept stacking log on top of log.

During one of my many early morning Googling and YouTubing sessions I’d come across something called Hugelkultur which really grabbed my attention so I discussed it with the Head Gardener, that’s Rose by the way, and we decided to give it a go. Time will tell if it was worth all of the lifting.

While I was busy lifting, carrying and then placing the logs in the raised beds the guys were busy working on the windows.

Opening/operating with a rope and pulley system with a cleat on the inside of the window to secure the rope to and keep the window open.
And Rose and Mose’s solution worked.
Secured with a cleat.
Lovingly painted red by me to matech our railings !
Difficult to see but every window has mosquito netting as screens on the inside of the windows.
And Moses inexpensive solution to securing the windows from the outside (the screens prevent this from inside the greenhouse) .

In the next edition we move onto the next stage of the greenhouse’s development. Power and water connections !

‘The headline for today’s edition is based upon the single released in 1983 by Robert Plant (what a choice !) which reached number 11 on the UK Singles Chart and number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Look Through Any Window “ in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I can’t say that I got up bright and early. At the time I usually get up – anywhere between 04.00 – 05.00 hours – it’s dark, very dark. Ideal conditions for a mug , or two, of black, unsweetened instant coffee. And some quality time on my iPad before showering, dressing and heading down to Estel’s Dine By the Sea ((every day apart from Tuesdays (they’re shut)) for my breakfast.

You’ve had enough of my early morning routine though , haven’t you. You want to know how the greenhouse is progressing, don’t you. OK then. Well, we left it in the last edition looking like this .

Work on the construction of the raised beds proceeded at a fairly quick pace.

Zinc sheets for the ‘walls’.

With the beds in situ it was time to start on the windows. A design and operating system that Rose and Moses had collaborated on ( I know my limitations – and there are quite a few !).

First window nearing completion.
Using the first window as the template for the second window.

I can’t wait for them to be fitted because – wait for it – I’ll be able to look through any window . Worst headline link yet ? Probably there is worse to come. Keep following and find out at : https://abelizehomeforus.wordpress.com

The headline for today’s edition is based upon the single released in 1965 by The Hollies which reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart and number 32 in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“When It Rains It Pours” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize .

For as long as I can remember I’ve been an early riser. This probably stems from when I was around twelve to thirteen years of age and did an early morning newspaper delivery round (in the ‘dark ages’ when I was growing up you didn’t need to get dispensation to be able to work ) . The habit obviously formed. But since Covid 19 I am waking up even earlier.

So, yesterday I got up and took my first mug of coffee, black with no sugar, shortly after 04.00 hours. And spent some little time Googling on what things we can do to improve the growing conditions for our vegetables when they are eventually planted. I took a second mug before getting ready for the drive to Estel’s Dine By the Sea for my breakfast. Some habits are good for you !

Anyway, enough off my rambling , back to the building of our greenhouse.

Unfortunately the build took an enforced break when Ambergris Caye (the mainland and many countries within Central America too ) got hit with a tropical storm. Generally , in Belize when it rains it pours .

View from our western, first floor (second floor for non-UK readers ) veranda .

The conditions delayed things for a week but when the sun came back it very quickly resumed and the sides started to go up.

How it looked before the sky opened up.
Southern side nearly complete. Just the top level ‘panes’ to fit.

Internal view of the southern side

Starting on the front, the eastern side.
“This is bigger than I thought “.
Western side finished apart from the windows .
And then the northern side started to take shape.

And then it was time to start the build of the ‘engine room’ of the greenhouse. The framework for the raised beds. Three of them. All being 32 inches high and 20 feet in length with the two abutting the northern and southern sides being 21/2 feet wide and the center bed being 4 feet wide.

Oh, there was an upside to the rain. Our cistern was replenished!

And the 45,000 gallon tank is full !

Now don’t forget to keep your eye out for the next scintillating episode of this gardening extravaganza (bit over the top , I know ). Not content with growing vegetables I now want to grow my readership ! So, just go to the website : https://abelizehomeforus.wordpress.com and click on the link you see below.

This is the icon you need to click on to subscribe.

The headline for this edition is based on the single released in 2017 by Luke Combs which reached number 33 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the US Hot Country Songs (Billboard) .

“Bringing on Back the Good Times “ in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Up bright and early this morning around 04.30 hours . Well I think it was around then but I can’t be precise because I don’t have a watch at the moment. I sent it to London (the place of its origin) in February for a service fully expecting to collect it in April when Rose and I made our annual visit to London . But we all know what happened then.

Long term readers may recall that I started virtually every edition of this blog that I put out in a certain way . I can’t recall (increasing age and all that goes with it ) exactly why or how I stopped but I did. Well, the setting and circumstances are slightly different now but I’ve decided to resurrect it as a variation on a theme.I’m bringing on back the good times !

Anyway, back to the coffee. I took a second mug whilst catching up on the iPad on world news. I’ll be honest though, I spend more time now updating myself on sporting items. I then brushed my teeth, showered, dressed and headed to

yep, MY table at Estel’s Dine By the Sea . For

a healthy breakfast . The butter on the plate was a mistake . I rarely eat it .

Satiated I headed home to see what progress Moses was making with the greenhouse but before I got a chance Nicholas , he’s Moses’ younger brother who was going to provide the plumbing and electrical expertise for our project , asked me to have a look at some photos he’d taken as part of his review of what would need to be done .

The top of the D Safety Switch box that connects our house to the grid.
And the bottom even worse.
How it should look.

Little doubt it needed replacing as a matter of urgency and most definitely before running power lines for the greenhouse. That wasn’t part of the planning !

I very quickly got over my disappointment though when I started watching Moses proceed to complete the roof of the greenhouse.

But it has to wait . The hardware store had run out of zinc sheets and was waiting for a resupply from the mainland. Oh well, time to start on the sides !

Southern side up first. Ziggy checking to make sure the sheets had been fitted properly. Good boy Ziggy.

For those of you that are interested, we chose polycarbonate sheeting for the sides.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next captivating installment!

The headline for this edition is based upon the single released in 1969 by Love Affair which reached number 9 on the UK Singles Chart.

“Don’t Stop Me Now “ in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Yes, yes, I know. Another edition . Unbelievable isn’t it . But don’t stop me now because I’m having such a good time !

I could just publish all of the photos I took of the greenhouse being built in one edition but I’m not going to do that. Of course I’m not. I’m going to drag it out. And drag some of you along with me. So here is the next installment!

In the last edition ‘we’ left the would-be greenhouse looking like this .

The next day Moses started on the northern facing side of the greenhouse.

In the background you can just make out the Hotel, the Marie Celeste of Ambergris Caye.
With the four sides in place we were starting to get a sense for what it would be like.

And as more and more wood was cut and put into position it looked better, and better and better (this is easy, doesn’t stretch the vocabulary at all !).

No slacking Moses. Get on with it !
You can now make out where the windows are going to be.
Moses in full swing.
The roof starting to take shape.
Good job Moses has great balance !
And the zinc sheets for the roof start to be fixed.

Stay tuned for the next captivating installment ! It will be in (on) a tablet or smart phone near you soon.

The headline for today’s edition is based upon the single released by Queen in 1979 which surprisingly (well as far as I am concerned ) reached number 9 on the UK Singles Chart and number 86 – yes, 86 – on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“I’m a Believer” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The day that Rose and I had been waiting for eventually arrived. We got a ‘phone call from Moses. He was ready to start work on our greenhouse and I needed to order the building materials on the list he was going to send me.

The list arrived as promised . I knew it would because I’m a believer and Moses always keeps his promises and I placed the order and the delivery was made.

And I got to work treating the wood. No, that didn’t mean talking nicely to it. But giving it some …

Boiled Linseed Oil. Quite expensive but very good.

And I slowly but surely worked my way through the pile, length by length. Boring but … somebody had to do it !

Monday morning couldn’t come quickly enough for Rose and I . They (whoever THEY are ) say that you shouldn’t wish your time away but sometimes you just have to. Anyway, it eventually did arrive and so did Moses. And he was accompanied by his assistant.

They immediately set about marking out where we had told Moses we wanted the greenhouse to be built .

Although we were only looking at some posts in the ground it was very exciting . Our project was starting to take shape.

Taking shape nicely.
Now that got your attention didn’t it ! No, not yet , but hopefully soon.

The headline for this edition is based upon the single released in 1966 by The Monkees which reached number 1 on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.

“Still Waiting” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

In the last edition I wrote about the wood chipper I’d bought to be able to create a covering for the floor of our planned greenhouse and as a mulch for some of the vegetables we would eventually be planting.

This ‘baby’ turned out to be a hungry Horace. As fast as I pruned the trees and bushes the wood chipper magically (OK I did have to ‘feed’ it ) turned them into mulch. And eventually I ran out of ‘stuff’ to feed Horace (it makes it more personal when you name a piece of equipment don’t you think ?) with . I had a dilemma . Or as Christopher Robin put it “What to do, what to do, what to do ?’.

Well amongst the very, very many great things about living here on Ambergris Caye is that there is always an abundance of dead branches by the side of the roads, and particularly where development has or is taking place . So I got the trusty wood hauler out (Pablo if you must know ) and scoured the sides of the roads. And in no time at all.

‘Food’ for Horace !

With no date set for when Moses could start to build our greenhouse I found myself still waiting so gave thought to the kind of things we could do to help the growth of the vegetables and herbs we would eventually plant. So, Googling I did go and found loads of interesting stuff. As I think you normally do when you’re searching any given subject. The problem is that I get sidetracked and Google off in a different direction. Anyway, back to the subject !

Through my Googling I stumbled across effective microorganisms and following some fairly lengthy (remember, I’m retired ) research I decided that I would make some . And it’s really easy to do (I chose recipe 2) .

The Kurd on the top. I understand that you can actually make cheese from this. Maybe after we’ve grown some tomatoes and spring onions !
And after straining it you’re left with the good stuff. EM .

It keeps well in a refrigerator so that’s where it is now until I start to use it on the soil. I’ll let you know how it performs.

A few paragraphs previously I mentioned that I do have a habit of getting sidetracked, I do get back on track but … Anyway, when Googling for soil treatments and finding effective microorganisms I kept seeing the word Bokashi. Now you know what I did next don’t you ? No? Oh c’mon . I did some Googling of course ! You feel foolish now don’t you ?

Having found Bokashi you know what I did next ? Yep, you’re right. I ordered a bin and a supply of bran to be delivered to US Trade Belize and around four weeks later it arrived.

The Bokashi bin.
And the bran .
First use of the bin .

You put all of the stuff from the kitchen that you’d normally put into your compost pile but you can also include stuff that you’d normally keep away from the compost pile such as dairy products, meat, onions, citrus fruits, etc. You can do this because the bran nullifies the smell. A couple of other neat things about the Bokashi method is that you can use the stuff in your soil a lot quicker around four weeks after filling the bin) because it ferments and doesn’t need to decompose. The other neat thing is that you get Bokashi juice as a by-product.

The headline for this edition is based upon the single released in 2002 by Sum 41 which reached number 16 on the UK Singles Chart and number 6 on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (I’d not heard of this chart either !).

‘“ The (Green ) House of the Rising Sun “ in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

If you’ve read the last two editions know that when Covid 19 struck Rose and I decided to involve ourselves in a number of projects from rejuvenating Highbury House to having a composter constructed.

Enjoyable as our tipple sessions on the east facing veranda have been there is little doubt that ambitions became bigger and bigger as Rose , on either Belikin or Pinot Grigio and me with my Hyper (which , given it’s price differential with, say , something like Absolut or Smirnoff , is surprisingly good) vodka and pink grapefruit juice .

Our brainstorming area. For this particular session I felt that vitamin C was more in order to accompany the vodka. Ziggy looking adoringly our hors d’œuvres. Which, if my memory serves me right, was Panko fried shrimp.

Looking down at the compost bin and holding Ziggy back from chasing iguanas our thoughts moved from a little vegetable patch to something far grander. A greenhouse no less. Time for a little Googling and YouTubing methinks. What do you say ?

I probably screen grabbed 40 to 50 photos of greenhouse designs which Rose and I, during a few of our ‘brainstorming’ (aka tippling ) sessions discussed at length and gradually whittled the selection down until we had chosen our ‘winner ‘. More of that later.

Our thoughts and deliberations then turned to how we would lay out and operate the interior of the greenhouse. Although Rose doesn’t look it (it’s true, I’m not just trying to win Brownie Points ) we are getting on in age and stooping down continuously to tend the vegetables we plan to grow would not be sensible. And one thing you shouldn’t get when you get old is stupid ! So, we decided we’d have raised beds. You know what comes next don’t you ? No? It’s obvious. I got into Googling and YouTubing mode and started screen grabbing. That’s what.

Next thing to decide was the location for this new addition to our ‘family’.

Traditionally in England, greenhouses are positioned in the back garden (yard for non-UK readers) and this is where Rose initially suggested we locate it. This appeared a sensible choice but we discussed it long and hard ,as is the case for many things that we are planning to do, and after much debate we changed our mind. We’d locate it in the front garden (I’ve no need to insert the translation again do I ? No? Good.) where the old flower bed had been.

Just here.

We chose this spot because it has a number of attributes :

  • It would be a shorter walk for us to get to (I’ve already mentioned that we’re not getting any younger).
  • It would be a lot closer to the water and electricity feeds that we wanted for it.
  • It’s positioning would allow us to knock off another wish from our To Do list. You’ll find out what in a later edition.
  • Given that it’s position would be in the south-eastern section of our garden it would get early morning sun. It would be the (green) house of the rising sun (did you spot what I did there ?).
  • With the ‘What, Where and How’ decided it was time to bring in Moses. So we did. But he couldn’t start work on the greenhouse straight away. He was busy with a number of other projects. That’s what can happen when you’re good at what you do. And he is.

This delay didn’t really disturb us though. We had other things to get in place and we set about getting them done.

We ordered a wood chipper via one of the freight forwarding companies that provide services for Belize. If you’re at all interested (if you’re not then just gloss over this paragraph) we used US Belize Trade who provided (and have subsequently) a first class service. We decided during one of our brainstorming sessions that we used wood chip for the floor of the greenhouse (it holds moisture and prevents weeds from easily growing ) and sparingly for some , but not all, of the vegetables and herbs we would eventually plant. A word of warning here though. Tippling can be exceedingly helpful when you want to brainstorm but be careful. Don’t tipple too much or you might just forget those fantastic ideas that you came up with !

When the wood chipper arrived (it took around 4 weeks from placing the order )

Lovely isn’t it.

I got to work with it straight away.

Loads of branches and leaves to convert into mulch.

And before long I was filling up box after box .

Looks good doesn’t it ? Well it does to me !

Next on the to do list was to collect some tree trunks and large branches – I’ll reveal why in a future edition (a tease, aren’t I ) – and I got these from a local guy (if you’re interested in who, just Message me) who I also got to cut the wood into more manageable and more easily (remember, I’m getting old) liftable pieces.

Trunks stacked ready for cutting.
Cut and neatly stacked in front of the composter.

The headline (adulterated I know ) for today’s edition is based on the single released by The Animals in 1964 which reached number one on both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100.

Keep your eyes on the lookout for the next edition . Will the greenhouse start to take shape ?

“Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes ) “ in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The editions I put out on this blog are a little bit like London buses. You wait ages for one ((alright, you may not wait ages for one but someone (hopefully) does )) and then a convoy of them turn up. So, for the second consecutive day I’ve knocked together (and it shows ) an edition.

Anyway, when Ambergris Caye went into Covid 19 lockdown in March Rose and I spent our mornings/early afternoons working our way through the list of jobs that we had pulled together. Repainting the railings and burglar bars being a couple of them.

But in the afternoons, after showering, we’d retire (what a lovely ,old-fashioned description that is ) to our Caribbean Sea facing veranda (it’s in the shade in the afternoon) and take a tipple (or two or three). Rose normally choosing a Belikin , Pinot Grigio or a Prosecco and I’d ‘go for’ either a Belikin or a vodka with pink grapefruit juice. Throw in a dish of Pringles (Cheddar cheese for me and Cheddar and Sour Cream for Rose ) and we were ready to sort out the problems of the world. Not really, we just talked about what projects we could undertake to keep our bodies and minds active.

During one of these brainstorming sessions (a so much more accurate description than binge drinking ) we got to talking about growing stuff in the garden. We’ve tried on numerous occasions during our seven years living at Highbury House with limited success. The coconut and palms have generally thrived but virtually everything else has looked good for a while but then withered and died.

As the vodkas went down (I think I was drinking vodka but …) my thoughts became more adventurous. Funny how alcohol can do that to you,, isn’t it . And before not too long my adventurous thoughts turned to foolhardiness. “ We’ll have a compost bin” I exclaimed. “ I’ll produce great compost that will help what we plant to grow and thrive”.

Rose humoured (humored for non -UK readers) me, thinking, I’m sure, that the drink would wear off and I’d get my brain back in gear. Wrong ! The next morning I ‘went into’ research mode – I love Google and YouTube – to find the compost bin of my dreams. And I did.

A three bin composter. The Rolls Royce of compost bins !

I was going to go back to my youth – or at least a much younger age – and grow vegetable again !

Me and Rose’s niece Alice in the garden of our first house. Taken perhaps 40 years ago.

So , I had the design but how to get it built? Moses of course. And I needed to put something in it when it was built . So I started a compost pile. Forward planning has always been one of my strongpoints . Or maybe it’s because I’m poor at everything else !

But first I dismantled the flower bed – one that we never managed to successfully grow flowers in – and moved the rocks to create a wall near where the compost bin would be situated.

The temporary ‘home’ for the compost pile.
And the compost starts to grow in size.

With the lumbar and roofing delivered it was time for Moses to start work !

And he was off .

And work on creating the bin lid begins.
Slats for the bin ‘doors’.
And the lid goes on.
And it works ! Well done Moses.
Neat or what ?
Time to start filling the bins .

Even people that know me reasonably well don’t realise that I have an annoying trait (I’ve probably got quite a few but I’m not going to list them today) . I can be extremely impatient. I want things yesterday. So having to wait between 3 months to a year for my pile of cardboard, grass cuttings, vegetable and fruit scraps to turn into useable compost just wasn’t on. So a Googling I did go. And I found a system that can – if you follow the procedure – produce compost in 18 days. Yes, just 18 days. You’re interested now aren’t you ! It’s the Berkeley Method.

Turning the compost every two days- and getting myself fitter and losing a few pounds as byproducts – from one bin to another , adding some water as I layered the compost and covering it with a black, plastic sheet the compost very quickly reached temperatures of over 120 degrees. Perfect.

And before long I had a colony of worms there.

I can’t wait to start plant the vegetables and herbs, especially the herbs and Rosemary in particular because – wait for it – I just know that love grows where my Rosemary goes ( you didn’t think I get any worse with the song links did you ? Well, I did. So there ! ).

Now don’t forget , if you got jobs doing in need of the multi talented Moses (he also a very nice guy ) you can contact him via Facebook Messenger , via telephone on 635 8764. And he’s on WhatsApp too!

In future editions – yes there will be more – I’ll let you know how much more adventurous we became.

The headline for today’s edition is based the single released in 1970 by Edison Lighthouse which reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“You Make Me Feel Brand New “ in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I know , I know , I know . It’s been a bloody long time since I produced (that sounds so grand , so important, doesn’t it ? No ? Oh OK ) an edition.

I mean it’s not like I’ve been terribly busy since Covid 19 reared it’s really ugly head . Or that Rose and I have been jetting off around the world . Nothing could be further from the truth . We’d love to have been catching a plane every couple of months but …

So, if we haven’t been enjoying ourselves on little trips away from our home on Ambergris Caye what have we been doing ? Lots. That’s what !

We’ve lived in the house we had built

Just after we moved in – December 2013.

in Tres Cocos for approaching 7 years and, although it’s still in a remarkably good state , things do, from time to time, need a little bit of ‘love and attention’. Don’t we all !

So, when Covid 19 showed it’s ugly face Rose and I got our heads together and started a list of things to do. First off was to give some time to the railings which are on each level of our house (as you can see from the photo above ).

When we designed the house ((and we did design it by way of a 10 page outline that we presented to our chosen architect ( https://www.strukturearchitects.com)) we chose blue as the colour for the railings.

Victor, the welder, spraying the railings with our chosen shade of blue.

Now a little bit of background as to how we chose the colour for the repainting of the railings. For those of you not aware, we named our new home Highbury House. Why ? Well both Rose and I are ardent Arsenal fans and ,when Rose and I first met , Arsenal played at Highbury . So …

Still not got it ? The cement work on our house is white . No ? Arsenal’s colours are red and white . Got it now ? No . OK then the chosen colour for the repaint of the railings was red. But first the preparatory work.

You can’t see it here but the railings were in a sorry state.
See what I mean.

A liberal coat of

a rub down with wet dry sandpaper and a good wash and the railings were ready for a coat of

and the railings were ready to be Arsenalised !
Primed and ready for
I thought I was at Highbury !

With the railings ‘out of the way’ it was on to the next project . The burglar bars. The salt air had ‘got’ to the them too !

Out with the Ospho , the wet dry sandpaper and the hose pipe and they were ready for the primer.

That’s better.

The problem with the railings looking so much better was that our mahogany exterior doors now looked a little tired and jaded. A bit like me after all that rubbing down and painting. So only one thing to do. Call in Moses. Our ‘go to’ carpenter.

We’ve called Moses on numerous occasions since we moved in because we were so impressed with his work during the build of our home .


“That’s Life” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Long-time /regular readers of this blog will know that I put editions out now a lot less frequently than I once did. In fact one might say that when the build of our house here on Ambergris Caye was taking place I was quite prolific. Some days I put two editions out !

With the completion of the build (and maybe the fact that I’m a couple more years older) I’ve slowed down considerably. When I started the blog I was, perhaps, somewhat like the hare. Now ? Decidedly more like the tortoise!

I now tend to put out an edition or two when Rose and I take a trip away from the island but even that doesn’t always whet the creative juices (creative juices ! Who do I think I’m kidding ?) .

We went to Nashville (yep, there again ) a few weeks ago and when we got back I fully intended to ‘knock out ‘ an edition or two but I never quite got around to it . Until now !

So what brought about this seismic change (well it’s seismic in my little world ) you’re wondering. You are, aren’t you ?

Well, two things actually but I’ll get to them in more detail eventually. .

Just before we departed for our trip we noticed that Ziggy ( if you’re a first time reader , Ziggy is the four legged, furry member of our family) had a little spot on his nose.

We thought no more about the spot, packed our suitcases, dropped Ziggy off at his chosen holiday hotel, Pampered Paws and made our way to Nashville. Yee-haw (did I really just type that ????).

We only spent six nights there but managed to cram in quite a lot . We ‘hit’ loads of music bars

and we did some shopping (when you are away from the island you just HAVE TO ) .

We ate at some nice restaurants .

We found, and frequented, a British themed pub.

And we got to see Patrick Mahomes live when we went to watch the Tennessee Titans play the Kansas City Chiefs .

The Nissan Stadium (home of the ‘Titans) in the background.

Found our seats.

Game on.

Billy Ray Cyrus proving the half-time entertainment.

Game over. Victory for the ‘Titans following an intentional grounding by the ‘Chiefs (see how effortlessly the terminology rolls off my keypad ) .

I felt sorry for the ‘Chiefs’ fans. We’d seen and spoke to a good number of them during the days leading up to the game. They’d virtually ‘taken over’ Downtown Nashville which became a sea of red.

All too soon our six night stay in Nashville was over and it was time to head home. We are luckier than most though so it’s never a major disappointment when a holiday (vacation for non-UK readers ) ends and we have to head home.

Our joy of returning to Ambergris Caye was brought to sudden jolt when we collected Ziggy. The little spot was a discoloured bump .

The next morning after breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea (is there anywhere else !) I ‘phoned the San Pedro Animal Hospital to find out if the new Veterinarian Surgeon had joined the practice. She had, so I booked an appointment for the next day for Ziggy to be examined by Doctor Amber Hinson. ‘Tomorrow’ couldn’t come soon enough for Rose and I .

Ziggy seemed edgier than normal when we entered the waiting room. He is always somewhat restless when we go to the Hospital. I suppose because his visits invariably result in an injection eg vaccination time, teeth cleaning, etc But this time he seemed more anxious.

A quick examination by the Doctor and unfortunately we got the news we didn’t want. Ziggy had a tumour and for him to have a chance of survival he needed surgery. So we booked him in for three days later. And while he was in there we were going to have the lipoma on his leg removed. It had been irritating him for some while and he was constantly chewing his leg .

He was there all day and when we collected him he looked pretty beaten up.

The patient resting .

We then had a very anxious eight days during which we researched veterinary chemotherapy clinics in Houston whilst we waited for the results of the biopsy. When the call came from Doctor Amber I answered it with trepidation. She obviously sensed this and virtually immediately stated ” We’ve got the results. It’s benign “.

The second really nice thing (remember all that time ago I mentioned that two things occurred that encouraged me to write this edition ) that happened to me took place a few days before we got the result of the biopsy.

I arrived at Estel’s expecting to see my normal sight.

No, not that, but this .

MY table awaiting me.

The reserved sign was on the table but there was someone sitting there at MY table with a mug of coffee in front of him . I was about to sit at an adjacent table when the guy got up. “John ?” he exclaimed . “Yes”, I replied. “Hi, I’m Anton from Toronto, I’ve been reading your blog for years. You’re the reason I’m here now”. Whilst he was saying all of this he was picking up his mug, milk, spoon and serviette from the table, My table that is.

He then walked to the table I was about to sit down at and placed the mug, etc on it. “Please take your table ” he said. So I did. Normality resumed !

We spent some time talking and most of the conversation centered around Anton’s visit and his plans to acquire land and build on it. Anton eventually bade me goodbye and he went on his way. I eventually ordered (I don’t really need to order it, they know what I want) my breakfast and ate it. I got a really nice surprise, however, when I went to pay. ” No need “, said Sam, “The gentleman you were talking to paid “.

Anton did the same thing a few days later. Thank you Anton.

Last week we had Ziggy’s stitches removed.

Healing very nicely.

And the scar on the nose is barely discernible.

Well now you know what the catalysts were to ‘encourage’ me to write this edition.

That’s life in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The headline for this eagerly awaited edition (smell the coffee John, no one has missed you ) is based upon the single released in 1966 by Frank Sinatra which reached number 44 on the UK Singles Chart and number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Under Pressure “ in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

With out trip to Buenos Aries, Argentina and Montevideo,Uruguay nearing its conclusion we still had a few more things to do from my list.

I obviously (what true football fan – and I mean FOOTBALL – wouldn’t ) wanted to visit the Estadio Alberto J. Armando, otherwise known as La Bombonera . And Rose did too, which helped !

But first we spent a little time wandering around Caminito the area where the Italian immigrants lived when they first moved to Buenos Aries.

Have your photo taken with the dogs and make a donation to the local dog shelter!

Bored watching the tango ? Watch a grill master at work instead.

And a pair of doors that have seen much better days.

The aroma eventually got to us. Our resolve weakened. And then it just disappeared. We just had to have a choripán (a sausage sandwich, if you must know ).

Caminito is the area in which La Bombonera is located so we didn’t have far to walk although it took a little while to get there because we met celebrities on the way.

With the greatest talent in the world at one time (in my opinion ) Juan Román Riquelme .

And the current little Maestro.

No, not me, I mean Messi !

“Oh please Mr Messi can I have your autograph?”.

And then we saw it, La Bombonera.

So we joined the queue (they do love a queue in Argentina)paid the entrance fee, got our wristband

and waited for the tour to start.

And we’re off.

In the words of Marquinhos (he plays for Paris Saint Germain and Brazil) “You can’t play, it’s a pressure cooker “. When you walk around the place and soak up the atmosphere and see the signs and trophies you just know that opposing teams know that they are going to be under pressure.

The Away team changing room

The Maradona Wall.

Statue of Maradona.

For our final night I had planned ahead and made a reservation at a restaurant I’d come across when researching our trip, Crizia had received rave reviews . And we found out why. The food was good, very good.

We chose oysters to start

followed by

Pappardelle and scallops for Rose and

Patagonian braised lamb for me.

I still had a little room so I followed up with

Rose did though find room for these – yes, both of them!

One down,one to go.

And she’s done it.

The next day after a little walk around and a couple of

it was time to take our taxi ride to the airport .

Goodbye Buenos Aires. Thank you for a great time.

The headline for this edition, the last one in the series , is based upon the single released in 1989 by Queen which reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart and number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“My List” in Buenos Aries, Argentina.

Those of you that have been reading this series of blogs about the visit Rose and I recently made to Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo,Uruguay have probably surmised that there are lots of things to do. So much so that you wonder if you can fit them all in. We didn’t but we came very close.

Obviously we had Café Tortoni on our list and knew that it would be popular but we didn’t expect to see this

when we got there. But hey, we joined the queue and in just over thirty minutes we were at our table.

While I was checking the menu out Rose did a bit of exploring (or more impolitely described as snooping ) and ‘found’ herself in a room adjoining the restaurant! She just happened to have her iPhone with her.

But back to the restaurant. I chose toasted pita bread with ham and cheese.

Washed down with a pint of Quilmes.

Café Tortoni, Argentina’s equivalent of London’s Hotel Café Royal .

I’m the one in the tan jacket.

Rose is the pretty one !

Next was a little walk around a supermarket. This is always on my list !

Loads of virtually ready to eat stuff.

Look at the prices. US$ 1 = 42 Argentina Pesos . The steak above at just below US$ 6!

Next on my list (and Rose’s for that matter) was a night of tango. Watching it, not doing it. Bad foot and all that!

I researched online but didn’t find anything that convinced me I should book so in the end we asked Ignur, the hotel’s Concierge. La Ventana she said. So we asked her to book for us . She did. And we went. It was fantastic.

A really, really good mojito . Nearly as good as when in Cuba. Or when Ernie (he of Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar fame – now that should get me a free drink. Or three !) makes one.

Considering the number of people to serve it wasn’t a bad menu.

And the food

And to ‘”wash it down” a half bottle of wine each.

With the plates cleared away we just had time for a photo

before the show began .

A really entertaining show and at US$ 100 each it is great value .

The headline for this edition, the penultimate one in this series , is based on the single released in 2002 by Toby Keith which reached number 1 on US Hot Country Songs and Number 26 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“A Kind of Magic “ in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

After the previous day’s Brush with the ‘wild’ we elected to go for a more sedate almost ethereal day. And we started off by visiting the Museo de Arte Latinamericano .

We obviously weren’t alone in thinking this would be an interesting way to spend some time because when we got there we were ‘greeted’ by a long queue.

Being British I’m used to queuing (it’s a ‘skill’ , just like riding a bike, that you apparently never lose) so we stood in line and shuffled forward every five or so minutes.

We shuffled along for quite awhile but eventually got to the ticket desk, paid the entrance fee and put my backpack in storage. We were ready to go!

And then the ‘star’ of the exhibition, a Frida Kahlo self-portrait .

And one by her husband, Diego Rivera .

We then took the escalator

up to the Leandro Erlich exhibition. You see this guy’s ‘stuff’ and your mouth drops open. It’s a kind of magic !

The famous Swimming Pool.

So we ‘jumped in’ too.

And how about these for selfies ?

Continuing in the arty vein our next stop was Teatro Cólon .

Very grand exterior but the interior took it to another level .

A mosaic floor that took twenty years to complete. And Rose thinks I’m slow !

Cupid whispering a secret to his mother Venus in the Salon de Bustos (Hall of Busts).

Franz Liszt.

And then in to the theater.

Behind the grating widows would watch and listen to performances during their mourning period.

For the evening I’d tried to book a reservation online for a table for two for dinner at the highly recommended Don Julio . I was unsuccessful instead I was requested to just “turn up at the restaurant”. So around 19.00 hours that evening that is exactly what Rose and I did. Only to be advised that there was a three hour wait for a table! I knew it was popular but …

So we walked down the road for a few minutes and found La Choza de Gasgon

which was very busy too but we managed to grab two seats at the bar from where we were able to see our dinner being cooked.

A perfect end to a magical day .

The headline for this edition is based on the single released in 1986 by Queen which reached number 3 on the UK Singles Chart and number 42 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Rose Garden “ in Buenos Aries, Argentina.

After our little excursion to Montevideo, Uruguay we had a refreshing night’s sleep back out our hotel in Buenos Aires and following breakfast were ready to pound the streets. On this day we were going back to nature !

But before that I have to own up that I forgot to mention that when we were in Montevideo Rose met Carlos Gardel (he of tango fame ) .

A bit too familiar if you ask me.

Anyway, back to Buenos Aires and our first stop was Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays .

Next stop was Ecoparque

A lovely setting but what was really neat was to see the animals wandering around freely.

The Patagonian Mara .

Next stop was Paseo El Rosedal (Rose Garden ).

And then we saw it. The roses were being pruned in readiness for Spring.

Rose turned and looked at me dejectedly. I looked at her and said (you know what’s coming ,don’t you ) “Oh come on Rose, I never promised you a rose garden ” (probably my worst link ever – you decide).

Before we left the garden we did manage to see a few roses I’m pleased to say. Nothing like they would be in the Spring and Summer but …

Free hot water for the mate drinkers.

Our walk was brought to a sudden halt when the rain came tumbling down. We managed though to find a dry haven !

Well nearly dry.

Two pints of Quilmes , an indigenous beer, on a promotional day. US$ 2.50 for them both !

This scintillating series continues with our further adventures in Buenos Aires. I’m getting excited just thinking about it !

The headline for this edition is based on the single released in 1970 by Lynn Anderson which reached number 3 on both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Red Red Wine” in Montevideo ,Uruguay.

In the last few editions I’ve blathered on about making a trip from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, Uruguay. Well in this edition “we” do get to go!

As I’ve already told you, when I made arrangements for our accommodation in Buenos Aires I also booked our stay at the Crystal Tower Hotel in Montevideo .

Now we were in Argentina all I had to decide with Rose was what route we would take to get there and we had three options that I was aware of :

  • We could fly there (45 minute flight time) from either of Buenos Aires’ airports for between US$ 215 to 260 return per person . The available flight times remains were not particularly good though.
  • We could take the Buquebus direct ferry (2 hours and 30 minutes crossing time) for around US$ 575 return per person or
  • Take the Colonia Express ferry to Colonia and by coach to Montevideo (total journey time of 4 hours and 45 minutes) for US$ 93 return per person.
  • We elected to take the least expensive option and I made the booking online for the ferry departing at 08.5 hours.
  • We then made arrangements with hotel to store our suitcases while we were away, a taxi to pick us up and take us to the port (you gave to arrive at least 90 minutes before ferry departure ) and an early morning call.

    We both woke up well in advance of the wake-up call and after showering and dressing ate a very early breakfast which the hotel had kindly organised for us and were in our way by 06.00 hours for the twenty minute taxi ride

    all the taxis are yellow and black and all operate with meters

    to the Colonia Express terminal.

    As soon as the check in desk opened (we were early) we very quickly got our tickets, passed through Immigration and Customs and boarded the boat.

    Like being at the cinema !

    And we were off crossing the Rio de la Plata .

    After an uneventful crossing we caught our coach. Oh, and you can get Uruguayan currency on the boat.

    to Montevideo’s Terminal Tres Cruces (it’s large bus station) from where we caught a taxi to our hotel.

    When we got to the Reception there was a problem. They had no record of our booking. They asked me when I made the booking. Months ago, I explained whilst frantically locating the confirmation email. Profuse apologies followed along with an upgrade !

    Better than we expected.

    After a quick freshen up we were ready to explore making use of the map they gave us when we checked in.

    It was cold though. Very cold for our bodies that are now so used to a tropical climate. We found it difficult to get warm . I bought a woolen scarf and Rose got herself a woolen hat and they helped a lot but we needed to be warmer. Warm food. That was what was needed. So we headed to the Mercado del Puerto which, according to my research, is famous for the quality of its steaks.

    Once in the building we immediately warm up. It was cooking in there !

    We chose a restaurant

    And a little while later got one of the best steaks I have ever had. Cooked just the way I had requested.

    And a very reasonably priced bottle of Malbec helped it go down. I do like a good red, red wine.

    The next morning after a leisurely breakfast at the hotel we had a final walk (well to be factual Rose walked and I limped along beside her ) around the streets of Montevideo and then hailed a taxi to take us back to the bus station. We had the coach to catch at 13.00 hours which (along with the ferry )would eventually get us back to Buenos Aries around 17.45 hours.

    All in all we think it was a worthwhile trip to make.

    In the next installment we pound the streets (calles) of Buenos Aries again but also get to smell the roses !

    The headline for today’s edition is based upon the single released in 1983 by UB40 which reached number 1 on both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100.

    “The Cemetery “ in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Now if you’ve read the two editions I’ve put out you’ll know from the last one that we intended to visit Argentina’s near neighbour Uruguay and I’d planned accordingly.

    When booking hotel accommodation for our time in Buenos Aires I’d also booked with a hotel in the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo. And I chose the Crystal Tower Hotel primarily because it appeared to be conveniently located for our ‘flying’ visit.

    But before our short trip we had lots more of Buenos Aires to see and we were going to Recoleta Cemetery and try to find the mausoleum of Eva Perón . First though a visit to

    And then onto the National Museum of Decorative Arts .

    Walking around museums is tiring work . I needed to sit.

    Rested we pushed on but it wasn’t long before I needed to give the foot a break. So …

    Fully refreshed we got walking again and eventually reached Recoleta Cemetery. Once through the gates we immediately took a photograph of the map showing mausoleum location. Without this I doubt we would have found

    Eva Perón’s grave.

    What struck us immediately was the grandeur of the mausoleums. Even those that were in a terrible state of disrepair.

    The tomb of Rufina Cambacèrés who it is said died twice .

    And then we found Eva Perón’s grave.

    Upon leaving the cemetery we visited the church next to it, Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar .

    What about Montevideo I hear you exclaim. Well you’ll have to wait until the next installment.

    The headline for today’s edition is based upon track 20 of the album Journey to the Center of the Earth by Rick Wakeman in 1974 which reached number 1 on the UK Albums Chart and number 3 on the US Billboard 200.

    “Something Got Me Started” in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    There’s little doubt that Subte (the Buenos Aires subway system) makes it a lot easier (and less expensive) to get around but we still did quite a lot of walking and even with my new , super comfy, shoes the ankle I broke just before Christmas

    started to ache and I started walking in a different way (I suppose a subconscious action to try to reduce impact on the damaged area) with the consequence that my left heel started to really ache and it became quite painful to walk.

    This didn’t stop our excursions however. You’ll be pleased to learn that I ‘manned up’. I am English after all ! It just meant that Rose wasn’t able to race around like she normally does. We got around at a more sedate pace. And I believe – and I’m sticking to it – it meant that we got to see so much more.

    Anyway, enough with my sob story. Let’s get back to the main story, our visit to the San Telmo Sunday Fair which is a bustling street filled with stalls selling a variety of things. Some things which some people might throw out but others pay a lot of money for.

    ‘Entrance ‘ to the market.

    And then something got me started. There was music playing across the square. So we walked (I hobbled) over.

    A tango was in full swing and it drew a large crowd. They put much energy in it made me thirsty ! So a little bite and some liquid refreshment was in order.

    We thought about sitting on the balcony but it was too far from the action . Tango was about to start again !

    The dancers were very good but the accordionist beside them was even more entertaining. His facial expressions were something to see.

    And if that wasn’t enough entertainment we also got to witness a photo shoot for a young, aspiring ballerina.

    She was posing in front of a Curio Collection by Hilton hotel.

    You can just see how Mahogany Bay Resort and Beach Club became a member can’t you !

    In the next installment you’ll get to see more of Buenos Aires and I might – no promises though – take you with us to Uruguay. Can’t wait, can you !

    The headline for today’s edition is based upon the single released in 1991 by Simply Red and reached number 11 on the UK Singles Chart and number 23 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

    “Going Underground “ in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Having been back from our trip to Granada, Nicaragua for around six weeks it was time to set off again. This time we were bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Now after you’ve seen the photos (forget the boring written stuff) I think a few of you might want to go there so here’s the route that we took :

    Tropic Air 12.00 hours flight from San Pedro to Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport . Flight time of 15 minutes.

    United Airlines 14.33 hours flight to George Bush Intercontinental Airport . Scheduled flight time 2 hours and 34 minutes.

    United Airlines 22.20 hours flight to Ministro Pistarini International Airport . Scheduled flight time 10 hours and 20 minutes

    I need to back up though. I’m moving too fast. Not a good thing at my advancing age !

    First of all we had to make arrangements for Ziggy to be looked after while we were away.

    Now as regular readers will know we normally book Ziggy’s “time away from us” with Pampered Paws but, like Jack Woltz in The Godfather , we got an offer we couldn’t refuse . Frank – long time readers will recall that it was Frank , when serving here on his first posting to Belize by the British Army – that found a very, very young Ziggy (he wasn’t called that at the time though) and his brother Grizzly .

    Ziggy is the little ‘blondie’ on the left.

    Frank though, very quickly taught Ziggy bad habits that we have had to contend with since he came to live with us !

    Anyway, back to The Godfather . Frank offered to look after Ziggy during our holiday. It was an offer we could not refuse so the weekend before we were due to set off Frank came over to Ambergris Caye and spent the day with us all.

    We went to Secret Beach first when we visited our next door neighbours (neighbors for non UK readers) Maresha and Jason’s Bar, Pirates Bar at Not So Secret Beach and then on to

    At Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar

    before taking the water taxi to Belize City

    Bye Frank. Bye Ziggy

    and then on to Price Barracks, Ladyville. Ziggy was temporarily rejoining BATSUB as a Reservist.

    It was a very strange three days at home for Rose me without having Ziggy at our heels or having to step over him while he was recharging (sic) but the time for us to depart eventually arrived.

    Waiting to leave the island at Tropic Air’s Departure Lounge (never , ever thought I would use such words when we first came to Ambergris Caye ).

    Arrival at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston (really plush following it’s fairly recent restyling ) .

    Our plane to Buenos Aires is on time so

    time for a little tipple . On the Rum. A refreshing little cocktail of caño brava white rum, fresh mint, lime juice and riondo Prosecco.

    Once settled on the plane I watched two films – the Green Book (a really enjoyable film ) and Dumbo (I know, I know) I switched to sleep mode and woke up just in time for breakfast. And seemed like I’d just cleared the plate when we joined the queue for Immigration.

    We cleared Immigration and Customs fairly quickly and saw a sign being held aloft with my name on it. Our pre-arranged taxi. Sixty minutes later (it could have taken a lot longer but I think our driver was Juan Manuel Fangio) we were at our hotel.

    After unpacking, a quick shower and change of clothes we ventured out for our first ‘taste’ of Buenos Aires. On the advice of the Receptionist we went to Julio Cortázar Square (“Serrano “) . And enjoyed the walk there.